Tread Softly: Yeats goes Underground to inspire London commuters
Poems on the Underground
Millions of Londoners and visitors to the UK capital can now read the poems of WB Yeats and other Irish poets on the Tube.
The works are featuring in Underground carriages due to a partnership between Yeats 2015 and Poems on the Underground, which works to bring poetry to a wider audience.
Transport for London is also set to print 100,000 copies of the an anthology celebrating Irish poetry for free distribution on the Tube this year.
Poems on the Underground (Penguin) will be published on March 26, with works by Yeats, Patrick Kavanagh, Seamus Heaney and Nuala NiDhomhnaill among others.
Yeats poems featuring on carriages include 'He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven' (below) and the first stanza of 'Sailing to Byzantium'.
Other Irish poets taking to the Tube include Louis MacNeice, Eavan Boland and Ireland’s Chair of Poetry, Paula Meehan (see gallery above).
Antoine O’Raifteirí, blinded by smallpox in the late 18th century, also features, with the famous opening line "I am Raftery the poet, full of hope and love".
The poems will appear on thousands of London Underground train carriages during March/April, June/July and October/November of this year.
1.265 billion passengers travel on the Tube every year, according to Transport for London, with Waterloo Station alone processing 89.4 million people a year.
It appears they're being inspired too, if this tweet is anything to go by.
Everyone walking, nobody talking. Morning rush hour in the London Underground tunnels. On a poster on the tube: a Yeats poem. Tread softly.— Joanna Lilley (@circumpolarjo) February 27, 2015
Yeats 2015 is a year-long programme of events celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Nobel Prize-winning poet's birth. It is supported by the Department of Arts, Heritage & Galetacht.
Poems on the Underground was set up by American writer Judith Chernaik in 1986. It partners with Transport for London every year in an effort to place poetry before millions of Tube passengers.
“We are delighted to celebrate Yeats 2015 with a special set of poems by Irish poets and we hope that people will love them as much as we do," Ms Chernaik said.
However, this isn't the first time Yeats has ventured Underground, as the below photo - snapped at Westminster in February 2012 - illustrates.
"Yeats spent many years of his life in London and his work continues to enjoy enormous popularity with British people,” added Dan Mulhall, Irish Ambassador to the UK and himself a Yeats scholar.
Find more on Yeats2015 at www.yeats2015.com.